How Arboriculture can Help us to Save Local Trees

Since I started this page, my purpose has been to disclose the scientific knowledge of plants (Botany) and their interactions with other living beings and with the environment that surrounds them (Ecology). Today we will learn about the study and management of urban trees and associated plants (Urban Forestry and Arboriculture), all thanks to my personal experience with the great team of Tree Surgeons in Edinburgh belonging to Arborist Direct Edinburgh.

They promote the dissemination of knowledge about trees among children, youth, and adults from all social sectors (users, fans, workers, managers, managers, and more) as part of their community work. They also develop strategies for the transmission of knowledge, to enrich the general awareness of the interaction between plants and people. I think their values, ​​and my goals align very well.

Why are trees so important?

As we know, trees are considered the longest living things on the planet. In addition to witnessing the history of humanity, people have benefited from their proximity, both by obtaining resources such as food and wood and by the way they improve the environment around them, maintaining the quality of the water, the air, and soil with which they interact.

Why is proper tree maintenance important?

Pruning is the most common procedure for tree maintenance and is desirable or necessary to improve or maintain its structure, health, and aesthetics, or for safety.

The word pruning has a simple meaning: selective cutting of branches for a specific purpose. However, to carry out pruning work, you must understand the biology and basic requirements of trees to optimize their health and structure, as each cut has the potential to change the tree’s growth, so none of its branches should be removed without clearly defined reasons.

The reasons or the pruning objectives have to consider the growth and development of the tree and its effects on the long term. Also correctly removing trunks and branches, to achieve specific goals, is as important as making the appropriate cuts.

The best arborists and Tree Surgeons DO NOT approve of the practice of tree topping, which is the most common and consists of cutting trunks or branches drastically and indiscriminately leaving stumps and/or partially or totally eliminating the crown.

This affects the beauty and health of trees, since they lose their natural form, makes them susceptible to pests, diseases and can lead to the death of the tree, among other consequences. If you want to know more about why not topping, we recommend the following reading of the Arbor Day Foundation newsletter (click here.)

Another type of tree maintenance is felling, which can be defined as cutting from the base of the tree. This type of practice should be the last resort to be used and all possibilities to avoid it should be examined, making a detailed analysis of the different factors that intervene in the tree. A professional arborist can help you decide if your tree should be removed when necessary.

It is important to have professional and trained arborists to diagnose trees and carry out the type of maintenance that is required to improve and/or maintain their health and beauty, so if you have questions about your tree or require an Inquiry, I invite you to approach Arborist Direct Edinburgh (click here) or write to your email, where you can direct your questions to professionals.

The frightening balance of Australia’s fires: 1 billion dead animals and 10.3 million hectares burned

The situation in Australia is devastating due to the ferocity of the fires that are raging across the country. Here we will take a tour of the data of this forest crisis.

Australia has declared an exceptional emergency due to the wildness and magnitude of all these fires that are raging across the country. It is so big that the smoke is already starting to reach South America.

The fires had already burned more than 10.3 million hectares, land equivalent to the entire Perthshire region, and continues to grow as there are 130 active outbreaks still working on 2,300 firefighters.

27 people have died and more than a billion animals have been affected where a third of them are koalas. Besides 10,000 camels are going to be slaughtered because they are consumers of water and it is a scarce commodity.

Furthermore, the dense layer of smoke is covering cities like Sydney or Melbourne, making the air unbreathable for several days.

The main causes of the fires are the extremely high temperatures, about 40.9 degrees on average, this season; Furthermore, this is the second driest year since records exist.

Other highlights

The image of a koala drinking directly from the bottle offered by a firefighter is touring the world. A video that reflects the dramatic situation in Australia with the more than 100 fires that have been declared in the country.

The video of the rescue of a baby kangaroo in the fires in Australia has gone viral. The person in charge of spreading them has been Sam McGlone, a volunteer firefighter, who saw the baby go to the flames and did not hesitate to go after her to save her life.

Heating Systems can also Damage our Beloved Trees

“Air pollution is the greatest individual environmental risk to the health of European citizens”, according to EEA

The high levels of pollution that are being reached these days in some of our main cities, with Glasgow and London at the forefront, are a serious and serious threat to the health of those who inhabit them. This is because breathing polluted air kills. This is not something only environmentalists are saying, but the health authorities and our Gas Engineers here in Perth have spoken about it (I like businesses that educate their customers about the impact that their HVAC facilities have on the environment, that’s why I mention them).

To reduce pollution levels and face the greatest threat to our health, one of the most recommended and effective measures is to better manage the transit of motor vehicles through the streets, since it is proven that exhaust pipes emit more than 70 % of the main urban pollutants, such as nitrogen dioxide (NO2), carbon monoxide (CO) or the harmful microparticles and nanoparticles (PM) that we talked about here last week.

Another measure that should be promoted in episodes of high pollution such as those we are experiencing these weeks is the responsible use of heating. It is not about turning off the boilers and getting freeze to death, but about regulating thermostats in a more efficient way to adjust our energy consumption to what is necessary, avoiding waste and increasing CO2 emissions.

Two years ago the Italian Ministry of the Environment urged local governments in all regions to reduce the use of heating in public buildings. The measure was part of a package of proposals to deal with the high levels of pollution that are reached in that country. The request was very specific: turn the thermostats in reverse to lower the temperature by two degrees. According to the calculations made by the ministry, this simple action could contribute to reducing by up to 10% of the polluting emissions associated with the use of heating.

The CO2 emissions generated by the use of heating and sanitary hot water (DHW) in a 100 m2 house inhabited by four people are usually around two tons per year. If we take into account that a car emits a ton every 5,000 km, we will conclude that the boilers also deserve attention when facing the problem of urban pollution.

Therefore, it is necessary to make more efficient use of heating. The use based on savings and efficiency is important because, as the authorities pointed out, turning the thermostat to the left just a couple of digits can contribute significantly, not only to clean up the family economy by cutting the gas or electricity bill but to prevent climate change from evolving into the worst scenarios described by scientists and above all, protecting our trees.

Sequoia or Redwood Forests in the World

Sadly, in the world, there is no forest in which there are only sequoias, but we can see how they alternate with other types of fauna and flora in total harmony. They do find, from time to time, tiny areas where only these trees grow, and they are called like this ‘pure forest of sequoias’. It is considered that there are about 20,000 copies distributed in small groves of about 6 live specimens and attract much attention.

These are groves that are protected. So they can continue to grow and reproduce, they take great care of the area where they grow and develop. Today, environmentalists, professionals and forestry experts make us see that there are fewer and fewer sequoias, and hence the interest in them so that they can enjoy the perfect circumstances so that they continue to grow strong and beautiful.

There are difficulties for these plants to continue reproducing. The key is in its seeds, which germinate conveniently only if they are found in mineral soils. On the other hand, in these soils, there has to be a total and direct incidence of sunlight. This is not easy: they are two important points that do not occur in any area of ​​the planet and that requires effort for trees to grow healthy and strong and last a long time.

At the moment there are crops of these immense living beings in various parts of the planet. These include England and Australia, where there are specimens that can reach 150 years of age and reach 50 meters high.

Sequoias or sequoia trees in Europe

The sequoias arrived in Europe in the year 1843. Here, they were introduced artificially for the ornamental value they were given. At this time you can enjoy your contemplation in countries like Spain, specifically in Granada. Near Puebla de Don Fabrique there are sequoias in the Cortijo de la Losa. The specimens were given by the Duke of Wellington to the Marquis de Covera in the second half of the nineteenth century and currently remain tall and strong.

There are also sequoias in Cantabria. There is a small forest that was declared a national monument in 2003, known as the Natural Monument of Monte Cabeza. There we can visit up to 848 feet of Sequoias Sempervirens and 25 of Pinus Radiata. I consider this a great incentive to make a trip to Cantabrian lands and enjoy discovering them.

The Eden Project: Sequoias in England

I want to make a pause in our travels to talk you about this exciting news: as if it were a living library, a total of forty coastal redwoods have been planted in Cornwall, a region southwest of England as a part of the Eden Project – an environmental complex inspired by nature and sustainable development.

This will be the first time that a “forest” of this species of gigantic-sized trees from North America will grow in Great Britain. It is expected that by 2050 these species will have already risen to 25 meters high and will not stop doing so in later years, leaving a legacy of one of the longest living beings that inhabit the planet.

As we know, coastal redwoods, better known as California redwoods, are the tallest living things on Earth and can growth of up to 115 meters high. And, on the other hand, they are also the most long-lived, since their life expectancy ranges between 2000 and 3000 years. However, many of them are being damaged by wood industry over the last 150 years at the same time as many other specimens that still inhabit the forests of California and Oregon are being seriously threatened due to droughts and fires.

The Eden project

The reason that brings these species to European soil is the so-called Eden project, a project carried out between Eden and Michigan-based Archangel Ancient Tree Archive (AATA), designed to preserve trees for future generations.

Eden’s co-founder Tim Smit stated:

“This project will become a unique collection of the tallest living beings on Earth. Redwoods will remain in Eden for, we hope, for thousands of years to come. ”

From California to Cornwall

For the plantation, carried out by the experts of AATA, two kinds of cuttings were brought: some were from sequoia trees in life and another from stumps of large trees that had already been cut down. These were cloned to obtain new samples, and from there, they were sent to Cornwall.

Among the cloned specimens, 10 were stumps from a famous sequoia in northern California that had been cut down in 1890 and was already 3,500 years old. If it had not been cut down, it would probably have been the largest tree in the world today. And, among the missions of AATA, is to proliferate the most important centenary trees in the world before their disappearance, as well as to archive their genetics and reforest the Earth with their offspring.

Tree samples arrived in Cornwall a year ago and, since then; they have been growing until they have now become strong enough to be planted. This will be a space that will undoubtedly become a new natural point of reference for us and for centuries to come.

This how I became a tree hugger…

Continuing where we left in our previous post, today, we will talk about how you can visit some interesting places. With provisions ready, you can visit the Redwood National & State Parks, protected by Unesco, and its star attraction, easily accessible: Lady Bird Johnson Grove. The sagacious Californian conservationists gave this forest the name of the first lady in an attempt to protect the park from the voracity of the timber industry. And the treat worked: the park celebrates its 50th anniversary today and some of its tallest trees have grown 30 m since then. Cutting them down is unthinkable; hug them, something instinctive. Younger children curl up in the cribs that form the fallen logs, teenagers take selfies posing with the peace symbol, and entire families surround the huge sequoia trunks to take a picture together.

The Redwood Parks posters ask visitors to be careful when walking among these giants: the roots of the redwoods are not very deep, sometimes they are under a soft blanket of humus and plants. Redwoods reach 20 plants high, intertwining at the roots, forming a network of mutual support and underground communication that helps them withstand storms. Drought remains a problem for these titans, despite the recent rains: the legendary hippy marijuana crop of Humboldt County is now legal in California, and requires a lot of water. Luckily, illegal cultivation has been slowed under the tree canopy and conservation efforts are constant. Travelers can lend a hand supporting California businesses with the green badge and sustainable destinations of Lonely Planet (generally, marked in your map guides with a leaf icon).

Venerating the oldest

Some of the oldest sequoia trees have been discovered very recently, near the Oregon border, at the Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Parkin California. Hidden with the naked eye in front of the visitor center is a forest of ancient redwoods whose real age was recently calculated by carbon dating: they are over 2000 years old. After admiring these old girls, you should not miss the pile of redwoods near Stout Grove. In the most difficult years, the redwoods grow to stretches instead of in orderly rings; something that can be seen in the fallen trees of Stout Grove. It is good that when you return to the real world after forest therapy you must not forget the teaching of redwoods: even in difficult times it grows, although it cannot be measured in the usual way.

The Forest Offers Happiness, Peace and the Sweet Company of Nature

Hi, everyone is me again. Today we will be continuing talking about the special places that make so attractive the sequoia forests. For starters, urbanites that begin forest therapy can start with Muir Woods. Just an hour from San Francisco. In 1945, delegates from the then newly founded UN recalled Franklin Delano Roosevelt in Cathedral Grove, an accessible forest with adapted shuttles and the Main Loop Trail. That event was written for posterity in English and Braille: “Here, in this temple of peace, delegates will have a perspective and a sense of time that no other place in America like this forest can offer. Muir Woods is a cathedral, the pillars of which they have stood firm throughout most of the written history of mankind.”

As we said previously, to live a fully immersive experience you can go to Humboldt County to find the even difficult to locate in Humboldt Redwoods State Park: Women’s Grove.

It is not necessary to leave the twenties behind when leaving this forest inspired by the history of California; it is possible to stay in the majestic rustic shelter of the architect Julia Morgan, built at south of Women’s Grove in 1926. Reservations should be made well in advance for Mother’s Day or to stay in the old garages of Julia Morgan’s Redwood Grove House. Across the Eel River, the beautifully restored Benbow Inn has been a hiding place for Hollywood dating since 1926, with steak-based dinners in the cozy wooden-beamed dining room, dances with live music on the patio tiles in the light of the moon and crystal sherry decanters by the bed for flappers who wanted to have a last drink before bedtime.

Where to refill…

At the West of Benbow, hikers chase the rainbow along 40 km of rugged coastal routes to sunsets with sea lions from the Lost Coast; but forest therapy enthusiasts who don’t want to get wet should know that the King Range National Conservation Area of ​​the Lost Coast is the wettest area in California and that there are hardly any places to shelter in this remote reserve. To the north of King Range, the landscape gives way to the meadows that surround the picturesque village of Ferndale.

Here one finds the comforts that a diligent driver needed around 1890: Eel River Brewing’s local beer at The Palace Saloon, rooms with a fireplace and a couch at The Victorian Inn, lucky horseshoes at The Blacksmith Shop, and – if you lose your hat on the Lost Coast–, the Main Street Millinery headgear. Ferndale is the perfect postcard city of the Californian Far West, as evidenced by its entry into IMDB as a scene for Hollywood filming; but this remote place has managed to preserve its peaceful rural charm without exceeding the tourist or the cheesy. It’s a good idea to go through the butcher shop Ferndale Meat Co to buy some pastrami sandwiches wrapped in waxed paper, or for Mario’s Lost Coast Café, for an adult grilled cheese, a vegetable sandwich with bread made with the flour that Mario himself grinds.

That would be all for now. In my next entries will be continuing to delve deeper into the redwood forest to keep discovering these amazing places for you to enjoy.

Looking for calm? Maybe you have to look for it on California´s Redwood

In California´s West Coast, the Art of de-stressing is something natural. Under the towering redwood canopy, it looks like that every breath allows us to start recovering the serenity, perspective and even lost hopes. The sight of this is astonishing for the traveler lacking green environments; since their ability to surprise is numb and they need to remind themselves the act of taking a deep breath.

Then we can start adventuring on these landscapes to nurture his body with the ancestral remedy to the modern ills. All of this is possible thanks to the “forest therapy”

Before continuing into the redwood…

In case you haven´t read my profile, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Regina Berry I´m a small-town girl from Perthshire, Scotland but I have fallen in love with the beautiful redwoods (sequoia Tree) that grows in the West Coast of America.

In this little entry, I want to talk about forest therapy. I know it looks like some invention from some Californian Hippies. But the truth is an official term coined by the Japanese Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Office. The Shirin-yoku (forest therapy) is the act of stroll in the forest breathing essential oils to restore the senses and that may strengthen the immune system. All of this is backed with scientific data. This practice draws inspiration from Shintoism, is promoted in major cities from Tokyo to London.

But how do I start with forest therapy?

To live this experience in the fullest you have to go into the heart of the redwood forest.  I was supposed to go to Humboldt County, driving for 4 hours to the north. There, you will find a panoramic stretch at 50 km. from the old US 101´s route. This beautiful place flanked by sequoias is known as the Avenue of the Giants. Along the route, there hand-painted posters to advertise to the travelers of curious point of interest in the highway: Hermit´s cabin in the thunder-struck tress, sequoias so big that you can travel through them in a car and grizzly bears carved with chainsaws in fallen sequoias’ stems. But the best destiny we´re looking for doesn´t have any signs and is, even more, harder to find in the Humboldt Redwoods State Park: I´m talking about the Women´s Grove.

The women from Humboldt managed to secure the support of the women´s organizations from California when this trench full of old-as-the-time-itself sequoias was threatened by the wood industry in 1923. More than 70.000 Californians women contribute with a single American dollar each to buy this forest, incorporate it to the Park and save these majestic redwoods for the posterity.

When you enter the spotted-by-shadows´ route in Women´s Grove you can feel the velvet moisture of the underwood together with steely conviction of the women who protected this place a century ago. This is one of my favorite places from the redwoods and one of the best to do your forest therapy. In the next entries, I will be talking more about all the things this beautiful place has to offer and how we can protect the redwood together, just like the Californian Women. Just remember: “The forest offers happiness, peace and the sweet company of nature.”

General Sherman Tree, the largest tree by volume on earth, 275 feet high.